that’s how the light gets in

30 August, 2006 at 10:57 pm Leave a comment

Leonard Cohen has been called “The poet of the heart”. He’s certainly written some stunning love songs! But, for my money, he’s also written some of the most profoundly true theological lyrics I have come across. Take his song Anthem, for instance. It’s a song that deals with brokenness and grace. Cohen understands more clearly than anyone I know what Paul means when he talks about God’s strength “being made perfect in weakness”. Look at the words of the chorus:

Ring the bells that still will ring.
Forget your perfect offering –
there is a crack, a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in!

Isn’t that something? Forget perfection – you’re on a hiding to nowhere! And if God demands perfection as an “offering”, we’ve had it – we’re doomed to failure. It is of the nature of things that they are cracked and broken. Perfection is a fruitless quest. It’s the counsel of despair for broken, sinful human beings. It’s unattainable and unsustainable. And yet there’s hope, because God is a God of grace. Grace means that we are not abandoned to darkness, brokenness and despair. There is an offering to be made – an acceptable offering. It is made in brokneness but in celebration of what is not completely broken (“the bells that still will ring”). And what about the cracks? Why, that’s how the Light gets in!

Entry filed under: leonard cohen, music.

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